LightSquared’s controversial plan to launch a wireless network interferes too greatly with existing GPS systems, as well as a GPS-powered ground-alert system overseen by the Federal Aviation Administration, according to U.S. government officials.
Federal agencies involved with testing and analyzing LightSquared’s proposed wireless network have unanimously found that LightSquared “would cause harmful interference to many GPS receivers,” and “that conclusion applies both to LightSquared’s original plan, and to modifications the company pledged after earlier tests showed interference.”
The news was broken in a letter signed by Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Deputy Transportation Secretary John Porcari, written to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from the National Executive Committee for Space-Based Positioning, Navigation & Timing.
“There appear to be no practical solutions or mitigations that would permit the LightSquared broadband service, as proposed, to operate in the next few months or years without significantly interfering with GPS,” Porcari and Carter said.
The Space-Based Positioning Navigation & Timing executive committee has representatives from nine federal departments including the Commerce Dept. and the Air Force. The group reports its conclusions to the FCC, which has the final say on whether Lightsquared can proceed with its network, into which New York hedge fund operator Phil Falcone has poured more than $2 billion.
GPS device makers say LightSquared inappropriately plans to send powerful data signals on airwaves previously reserved mainly for faint emissions from satellites. They say LightSquared would disrupt navigation equipment in aircraft, boats, tractors and automobiles.
LightSquared is now fighting back, saying the test results were “biased.”
Read further at Bloomberg News.